FDA Delays Enforcement of New Tobacco Rules

Cigars, e-cigarettes given reprieve on warnings, ingredient labeling

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to postpone enforcement of new regulations affecting electronic cigarettes and cigars following a request from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and tobacco-industry groups.

The DOJ and the tobacco groups collaborated on a request for an additional three-month delay, according to The Washington Post.

In court filings from May 1, the DOJ asked for the delay in two ongoing lawsuits involving the FDA, saying that new leadership personnel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services required “additional time to more fully consider the rule and issues raised in this case,” the report said.

Citing FDA officials, the Post said the FDA will postpone any deadline set for May 10 or later under its 2016 “deeming rule,” which extended its authority beyond cigarettes to all tobacco products. The result now means cigar manufacturers will not have to submit their plans for putting addictiveness warnings on their products. Information on what ingredients are contained in e-cigarettes and cigars will not have to be submitted starting Aug. 8, and interstate commerce of products including the label of “light,” “low” or “mild” will not be banned as of that date, according to the Post.

The decision to delay the rule represents a sharp policy shift from the Obama administration, the Post said.

“What we’ve got to do is rein it back in,” said Ray Story, president of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, Alpharetta, Ga., referring to the 2016 rule. When it came to the Trump administration, he said, “I certainly think that they are going to curb regulation just to curb regulation, because it’s bad for business.”

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